Seriously, fuck Redbox and Netflix. Yes, I’ve used them both, and in turn I have contributed to the downfall of the modern video store. The video store was a magical place, and completely enabled my overweight and introverted high school years. As a kid, my parents would take me to Bullseye Video in Ravenna every Friday night after school, and we would all pick movies for the evening. I’d meander my way back to the horror films, and stand in awe at all of the choices. The Town That Dreaded Sundown, The Exorcist, Slaughter High. It was amazing.
Getting home, and sitting my fat ass in front of the TV, with my snacks and pile of movies, that was my happy place.
As I grew older, and got my license, Video Express in Streetsboro was a very common haunt of mine, and I would easily walk out after each visit with a handful of movies that I had never seen, prompting a movie-marathon of epic proportions. When I was 18, I got a job at a Broadway Video, also in Streetsboro, and it was one of my favorite gigs ever. I even had a rack labeled “Eric’s Picks”, along with such choices as Butch Cassidy And The Sundance Kid, Easy Rider, and Tombstone, and the free rentals was perhaps the greatest perk known to man.
Then one day, I realized the salad days were coming to an end. Video stores were closing left and right. Netflix was gaining steam, and Netflix Instant was still in it’s infancy, and suddenly nobody wanted to go to the video store. Why leave the house, when Netflix can just mail me my DVDs? The only reason at that point to go to the video store was for new releases, as Netflix usually had quite a wait time for anything new, and enter RedBox. You could rent just about any new release for the night, for only a dollar. If this was Mortal Kombat, that dude would have yelled “finish him!” at right about this point. Video Express closed. Broadway Video closed. The video store was dead.
But with Neftlix and Redbox, comes hassles and hazards of their own. I can’t count how many times I received a scratched disc from Netflix that didn’t even work, or was unable to connect to Instant on my Xbox 360. I’ve cursed at the “Unable to connect to Netflix, please try again” screen more than I’d like to admit. And Redbox… it seems like every time I visit one, I’m standing behind the worlds most indecisive person. Seriously, you’re going to pick something shitty anyways, so just make a choice already! And neither really offer the vast selection, quite like the video store. The new releases usually suck, and good look finding something decent on Netflix Instant. You can only watch Black Fish so many times before you don’t care anymore, and lay into some fish sticks.
There was just something magical about the video store, and the whole experience. Driving in your car to the little shoppe, going in, perusing the selections, and all of the possibilities. The secret room in the back with all of the dirty movies. The smell of cheap popcorn. The over-priced candy. That awkward moment when you get to the counter with your date, and realize you have a $30 fine for the late return of Back Door Sluts Volume 7. Magic.
Do you miss video stores? Ever rented a porn? Is Netflix the Devil? Tell me in the comments!